Tag Archives: USA Today

USA Today had it so right in 2016

On Sept. 29, 2016, the Gannett-owned USA Today newspaper broke with tradition it had set for itself.

It had vowed to avoid endorsing presidential candidates. It has chosen over the decades to comment on issues, but has shied away from suggesting how voters should cast their ballots. “Until now,” USA Today wrote in 2016.

It turns out that all the matters that concerned USA Today’s editors during his presidential run have distressingly true during his time in office. His “erratic” behavior, his lies, his lack of interest, his “checkered” business career, his prejudicial rhetoric … it’s all there.

You can read the editorial here. I encourage you to read what USA Today said in 2016. I looked at it just today and am stunned at how prescient the paper’s editors have proven to have been.

To be clear, USA Today was not enamored of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Trump’s 2016 opponent. It merely stated that Trump was so clearly unfit and unqualified for the office he sought that Clinton, by comparison, was the better choice by default.

It’s good to look back as we prepare to look ahead to the next presidential election.

I want to commend USA Today’s editorial board for expressing the vision that it saw with the election of Donald Trump. It saw a massive train wreck and, by golly, the 45th president of the United States has delivered it.

Do we really want four more years of what this man has brought?

I pray not.

There he goes again: disparaging another beloved American

I am shaking my head yet again at something the president of the United States has said.

Donald Trump told the Washington Times that he understands why the late former first lady, Barbara Bush, disliked him so much. “Look what I did to her sons,” Trump said.

Yeah. Look at that.

It won’t happen, ever, but a tiny part of still wishes the president could exhibit the tiniest sense of public decency when responding to critics.

Mrs. Bush died this past year a few months before her husband, the 41st president, George H.W. Bush, passed away. She made her feelings known in a new book, “The Matriarch,” written by USA Today reporter Susan Page. She disliked Donald Trump. That, ladies and gents, is no secret.

As for Trump’s response, he denigrated Jeb Bush as “low-energy Jeb” while they competed for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Trump boasted to the Times that Jeb was supposed to win, but was eliminated early. Trump also was highly critical of President George W. Bush’s conduct of the Iraq War; I get that criticism, but then again he did use some inflammatory language to challenge the former president.

It’s not in Trump’s DNA to keep his trap shut. Or at least to offering akin to a statesmanlike acknowledgement that a beloved former first lady is entitled to her opinion.

Oh, no. He has to mock her.

Classless.

Trump continues to demonstrate unfitness for his office

Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!

What you see here is another demonstration from the president of the United States of his utter tone deafness.

It is a tweet from Donald John Trump Sr.

It also shows many millions of Americans — including yours truly — how totally unfit he is for the office he occupies.

He says Sen. Gillibrand “would do anything for them,” implying that she would do something of a sexual nature to obtain a campaign contribution from Trump.

This man has shown at every level imaginable an absolute lack of decency. An editorial in USA Today provides a profound and stark commentary on the president’s shameful demeanor. What I find remarkable about this editorial is that comes from a publication that does not possess a fiery, partisan editorial policy.

USA Today calls Trump “uniquely awful” and declares that he is not fit to “clean the toilets at Barack Obama’s presidential library or shine George W. Bush’s shoes.”

As the paper notes: “Not to mention calling white supremacists ‘very fine people,’ pardoning a lawless sheriff, firing a respected FBI director, and pushing the Justice Department to investigate his political foes.

Read the editorial here.

Yet, despite this serial demonstration of a lack of humanity and common decency, Trump’s supporters stand by their man. They applaud him for “telling it like it is.” They endorse his nativism and tribalism and call it “populism.”

Donald Trump is unfit to be president.

As USA Today’s editorial concludes: The nation doesn’t seek nor expect perfect presidents, and some have certainly been deeply flawed. But a president who shows such disrespect for the truth, for ethics, for the basic duties of the job and for decency toward others fails at the very essence of what has always made America great.

He should resign from the presidency.

Let us revisit ‘term limits’

The calls for mandating term limits for members of the U.S. House and Senate have become a bit muted in recent years.

That’s fine with me. I’ve never quite understood the notion of requiring public servants to step aside after a certain set time established through federal statute or constitutional amendment.

The issue keeps recurring every so often. It well might again in the 2018 midterm election that will decide every one of 435 U.S. House seats and one-third of the seats in the 100-member U.S. Senate.

I dug up a 2013 article in USA Today that noted that the 113th Congress was the most “inexperienced” in nearly two decades.

As USA Today noted about that Congress: A confluence of factors — from a trio of wave elections, redistricting, divisive primaries to even death — kick off a 113th Congress populated by junior lawmakers in both chambers that challenges the conventional wisdom that Washington politics is dominated by entrenched incumbents.

Nearly two in five lawmakers in the U.S. House, 39%, have served for less than three years, according to data compiled by the non-partisan Cook Political Report. It’s the least experienced House since at least 1995, when an election wave swept the Republicans into power.

Read the rest of the USA Today article here.

That was just four years ago. The turnover on Capitol Hill has continued at about the same pace.

It brings to mind the Congress that took office in 1995. The election the previous year had swept out dozens of incumbents as the Republican insurgents took control of both legislative houses for the first time in 40 years. One of the upstart freshmen that year was a young self-described “recovering lawyer” named Mac Thornberry, who became the Texas Panhandle’s representative.

Thornberry, a Clarendon Republican, is still in the House. He campaigned as a champion of the Contract With America, the GOP platform that pledged a lot of radical changes. One of them was mandated term limits. Thornberry never imposed any such limit on himself; he has voted in favor of every failed attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution to require term limits for members of Congress.

Frankly, I’ve never faulted him for remaining in Congress all this time … even though I detest his general governing philosophy.

Indeed, any member of Congress who does a lousy job or who doesn’t represent his constituents’ interests will hear from them on Election Day. The voters have the power to impose their own brand of term limits on their elected representatives.

Moreover, is inexperience a good thing when it comes to running the federal government? Hmm. Let me think about that.

Oh, yeah. We’ve got a political novice in the White House at this very moment. The president took office after spending his entire professional life seeking to fatten his financial portfolio. He had zero public service experience before taking office. He is learning a hard lesson that governing isn’t nearly the same as running a business empire.

I believe, therefore, that government experience is vital.

The upcoming midterm election is going to turn on a lot of factors. Term limits might return as a top-drawer political issue. Fine. Let’s have that debate. I likely won’t budge from my long-held belief that we already have term limits. We call them “elections.”

***

Here’s what I wrote five years ago about this very issue:

Term limits? We already have them

 

What does Kim Jong Un want? Part 5

This concludes my brief examination of the five demands that Kim Jong Un  has made on a world seeking to lessen tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

USA Today has listed five of them. Kim wants the United Nations to lift the sanctions it has imposed on North Korea. Good luck with that one, Mr. Dictator/Goofball.

The only way the sanctions could go away would be if Kim agrees with U.N. and U.S. demands that he cease making nuclear weapons and cease testing the missiles he hopes would deliver them.

Kim has brought a lot of misery to his people by spending so much of his nation’s Gross Domestic Product on militarization. North Korea is bristling with artillery pieces, tanks, fighter jets — but its people are starving. The sanctions imposed by the U.N. ban the export of coal, iron ore, lead and lead ore, depriving the nation of about $1 billion annually.

There needs to be concessions by North Korea for the sanctions to be lightened, or eliminated.

All of this circles back, in my view, to the issue of “containment and deterrence.” If the United States and the rest of the world would accept the notion that Kim is going to keep his nukes and then rely on the threat of immense destruction that would be delivered to his country if he launches any kind of strike, then this crisis might be allowed to settle down.

I have little faith that anyone — whether inside the North Korean government hierarchy or anywhere else — will be able to talk sense to Kim.

Now, if we could just get the president of the United States to keep his trap shut and let the diplomats do their work.

That’s some good shootin’, eh?

There might be no greater example of the difference in battlefield strategy between our side and the Islamic State than a story I’ve just read.

A Canadian special forces soldier fired a high-powered rifle shot at an ISIS fighter and killed him — from a distance of two miles! The kill shot reportedly set some form of record for long-distance sniper fire.

The 3,450-meter shot took 10 seconds to hit its target after being fired from the weapon. The soldier was perched atop a high-rise structure when the incident occurred over the past 30 days.

Wow, man!

I love this quote from a Task Force 2 spokesman: “Instead of dropping a bomb that could potentially kill civilians in the area, it is a very precise application of force and because it was so far way, the bad guys didn’t have a clue what was happening.”

Therein lies the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. ISIS, al-Qaeda, Taliban and other terrorist organizations target civilians. They intend to inflict mass casualties on so-called “soft targets.” The approach taken by U.S. and allied forces in return is to seek to minimize such collateral damage.

In the case of this Canadian sniper, well, he did his job with extreme precision — not to mention extreme prejudice.

Read the USA Today story here.

According to the newspaper: “Canada has a world-class sniper system,” the source told the paper. “It is not just a sniper. They work in pairs. … This is a skill set that only a very few people have.”
They also have to account for wind speed and the increasing downward motion of the bullet as it loses speed over such a long distance.

Count me as one who is glad to know these guys are on our side in this fight.

There might be another Jimmy Carter out there

A recent poll commissioned by USA Today and Suffolk University delivered a dire warning for Democrats still stung by the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States.

The clear “frontrunner” for the 2020 presidential race is someone new. Anyone new. A fresh face.

A friend of mine wondered on social media who the Democrats could come up with. I didn’t answer him directly, but I’ll do so here: If we could come up with a name, it wouldn’t be a new face.

The political parties historically have fallen back to the tried and true practitioners of the politics. They tend to look for established figures.

Then again, we have one example of a new face rising up from out of nowhere. Jimmy Carter did that in 1976.

He was a former one-term governor of Georgia. He didn’t have a particularly noteworthy term as governor. Indeed, his views evolved over time. He had run for political office before as a segregationist. His term as governor featured a radical departure from his former view.

Carter would introduce himself at political parties by saying, “My name is Jimmy Carter and I’m running for president.” He strode to the podium at the 1976 Democratic National Convention and began his presidential nominating acceptance speech with that signature line.

Is there another Jimmy Carter out there? Hello?

Come out, come out … wherever you are.

Go with a brand new face, Democrats

A poll offers some clear instructions for Democrats interested in coming back from the shock of watching Donald J. Trump elected president of the United States.

Go with someone shiny and brand new to the national scene, Democrats.

No more Clintons should run for high office, namely the presidency.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/theres-a-clear-democratic-front-runner-for-2020/ar-BBxq70O?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

USA Today/Suffolk University has released a poll that says Democrats need someone new. It doesn’t specify an individual. Just go with someone new to the national scene.

If you think about it, Republicans might have had the right idea by going with someone “new” as their presidential nominee in 2016. Donald J. Trump wasn’t exactly new to the limelight. He’s been basking in it for 30-plus years.

He burst onto the political scene when he rode down that escalator at Trump Tower and then made his first presidential campaign promise: he’ll “build a wall” to keep those illegal immigrants from coming in.

Trump was a familiar entertainment face, but was new to politics.

He’s not so new to politics these days as he prepares to become president.

Democrats are facing a serious quandary as they ponder their choices for 2020 and, believe it, they are pondering them at this very moment.

One individual did fare pretty well in this poll of Democrats. It is Joe Biden, the current vice president who’ll be 78 years of age on Jan. 20, 2021 when we inaugurate someone after the 2020 election. Personally, I wanted Vice President Biden to run this time around. He didn’t go for it. I fear it’s too late for him next time.

Poll respondents apparently think so, too.

Democrats had better start beating the bushes for their next presidential nominee. The poll results suggest they need to find a fresh face.

I mean, if Hillary Rodham Clinton — a former U.S. first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state — can lose to someone as unqualified and unfit for the presidency as the guy who beat her, then it’s time to start with a clean slate.

Get busy, Democrats.

Here’s a profound non-endorsement

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USA Today has done something I didn’t think I’d ever see in a major newspaper editorial page.

It published an editorial non-endorsement of one candidate for president while at the same time saying it could not endorse that candidate’s opponent.

I’ve read the editorial twice. I might read it again and again, looking for some nugget of justification for the USA Today editorial board’s rationale. Wish me luck.

Here is the editorial in question:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/09/29/dont-vote-for-donald-trump-editorial-board-editorials-debates/91295020/

In its 34-year existence, USA Today never had opined on a presidential campaign. Until now.

It has declared Republican nominee Donald J. Trump to be patently, profoundly unfit for the office of president of the United States. It lists its reasons for reaching that consensus among its editorial board members.

The paper is categorical in its declaration. It also is correct.

Then, near the end of it, the paper says it cannot endorse Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton, who the paper states has too many flaws of her own. Still, the paper states:

“Some of us look at her command of the issues, resilience and long record of public service — as first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of State — and believe she’d serve the nation ably as its president,”

OK, what now?

USA Today says it cannot recommend a vote for Clinton. It urges voters only to withhold their vote for Trump … for the myriad reasons it declares forcefully in its editorial.

No vote for Clinton? A “hell no” vote against Trump?

Does that mean Hillary Clinton can boast of an editorial endorsement from USA Today after all?

My head is spinning.

Immigrant tide is reversing itself

citizenship

The world remains focused on events in, say, Syria and Europe.

However, get a load of this item: More Mexican citizens returned to their home country over a five-year period than came into the United States.

The Pew Research Center said that from 2009 to 2014, more than 1 million Mexicans returned home while 870,000 of them came to the United States.

Does that change the debate in this country? Quite possibly.

Presidential candidates — particularly some of them on the Republican side — have made immigration a theme of the upcoming White House campaign.

I’m not at all sure what the trend suggests. Pew is a reliable research outfit, with findings that are well-documented. One theory being kicked around is that the Great Recession of 2008-09 in the United States removed an incentive for Mexican citizens to come to the United States in search of jobs.

The inflow of migrants could increase as the U.S. economy continues to improve, according to Mark Hugo Lopez, a Hispanic researcher for Pew. According to USA Today, “In coming years, he said, the number of Mexicans may increase again if the U.S. economy continues to improve. But steady growth of Mexico’s economy and tighter controls along the southwest border mean the United States won’t see another massive wave of legal and illegal immigration like it did in recent decades, when the number of Mexican-born immigrants ballooned from 3 million to nearly 13 million, he said.”

Lopez added that the era of Mexican migration might be at an end.

So, while our attention is diverted to places far away, we see some interesting trends right at our doorstep.

Don’t look for critics of U.S. immigration policy to proclaim this as good news. Indeed, if foreign nationals anywhere in the world can find prosperity at home, well, that reduces the strain on the Land of Opportunity.

I consider that to be good news.